Elon Musk Didn't Slam A Tesla Employee For Attending His Child's Birth — But He Definitely Said All These Bizarre Things
There's no question that Elon Musk is one of the greatest visionaries of our time; there's also no question that with that imaginative mind comes some equally imaginative quotes. But there are some things that even Musk would never say, at least according to him. On Tuesday, Musk denied scolding an employee for attending his child's birth, as had been alleged in a forthcoming Musk biography written by reporter Ashlee Vance. "It is total BS & hurtful to claim that I told a guy to miss his child's birth just to attend a company meeting. I would never do that," Musk tweeted Tuesday.
On Tuesday, after multiple media outlets obtained a copy of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest For a Fantastic Future, written by Bloomberg technology reporter Vance, a specific anecdote from the yet-to-be-released tome prompted an angry response from the tech innovator. The excerpt claims Musk allegedly emailed an anonymous employee the following message:
That is no excuse. I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are. We’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t.
The "excuse" Musk was allegedly referring to is the birth of the employee's child.
Shortly after these reports came out, Musk took to Twitter to set the record straight.
He also denied another quote from the book, in which he says, "My mentality is that of a samurai. I would rather commit seppuku than fail." Seppuku is a form of suicide that was part of the samurai code.
So, according to Musk, he never said anything of the sort — and you gotta admit, it does sound pretty ridiculous. But in terms of what he has said, there have been some, well... interesting moments.
He's Adamantly Anti-Relaxation
Musk told interviewer Alison van Diggelen at the Computer History Museum:
The idea of lying on a beach as my main thing just sounds like the worst. It sounds horrible to me. I would go bonkers. I would have to be on serious drugs. I’d be super-duper bored. I like high intensity.
Elon, are you sure you're human?
He's So Over Life On Earth
Musk described his very ambitious vision for interplanetary life to Aeon Magazine in September 2014:
F**k Earth! Who cares about Earth? ... If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonize the whole solar system, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel. We’ll go to the moons of Jupiter, at least some of the outer ones for sure, and probably Titan on Saturn, and the asteroids. Once we have that forcing function, and an Earth-to-Mars economy, we’ll cover the whole solar system.
More On Interplanetary Living
Clearly, living on other planets is something Musk thinks about a lot and much of his work contributes towards that goal. In 2012, he quipped to The Economist:
I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact.
His Terrifying Warning About Killer Robots
Another topic Musk always comes back to is the danger of artificial intelligence. At the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco in October 2014, Musk told the crowd:
I don’t think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement ... and its utility function is something that’s detrimental to humanity, then it will have a very bad effect. If its [function] is just something like getting rid of email spam and it determines the best way of getting rid of spam is getting rid of humans.
But He's Not Crazy
Sure, some of the technology Musk dreams up and talks about sounds like crazy talk, but he very eloquently pointed out in Mike Hockney's 2014 book Magic, Matter and Qualia:
If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic — being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago.
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